The boy is having a St. Patrick’s Day party at Pre-K today, and of course everyone was asked to bring in something green. We were brainstorming ideas and the first thing that he came up with was peas. I have to say I was more than a little proud that he thought of naturally green things first, and vegetables at that — though it didn’t take long before he was asking for green cupcakes.
We celebrated St. Patrick’s at home a little early with an “Irish” fondue party last weekend. I boiled potatoes, blanched broccoli and sliced raw green peppers. I was hoping that the cheese sauce would entice the boy to try the peppers, but no such luck. At any rate, if you’re struggling with green veggies in your house, sometimes a simple dip (hummus or homemade ranch ) can make all the difference. And fondue — a warm, cheesy dip — is fun for the whole family.
Recipe: Irish Fondue
3/4 pound Landaff or Caerphilly cheese*
1/4 pound Gruyere
1 cup + 2 tablespoons Irish ale (like Harp)
1 tablespoon flour
1 clove garlic
Serve with: vegetables, raw or blanched, boiled potatoes, sliced apples or pears, and cubes of bread.
Instructions: Set up your fondue pot. If you have the kind with a glass pot that sits inside a larger metal pot, add boiling water to the larger pot and light the flame to keep it warm. (If you have an electric fondue pot, you can cook the cheese right in the pot. I don’t, so I started it on the stove.)
Cut your garlic clove in half and rub down the inside of a medium, heavy bottomed sauce pan. Pour 1 cup beer into pan and heat over medium heat. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk flour into 2 tablespoons beer to make a smooth slurry.
When beer is warm, add shredded cheese, whisking until melted. Slowly whisk in flour/beer slurry, then let cook, stirring frequently, for a couple minutes, until thickened. Pour into the fondue pot (the inner glass pot, in my case) and set over the flame to keep warm. You’ll want to stir the cheese periodically as you eat to keep it from hardening on the bottom.
*About the cheese: Landaff is a wonderful cheese made in New Hampshire that you may be able to find in Whole Foods. It’s an American version of the traditional Irish Caerphilly. If you can’t find either of those cheeses, try a mild cheddar (Dubliner of course is always good for St. Patrick’s Day).